Tag Archives: Gastric bypass surgery

Heart issues and Instagram

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Oh. Hey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I haven’t written in this blog in months. The last time I writing (the end of March), I had to stop to take my mom to the hospital. She was having some jaw pain and as it turns out, it was a heart attack. She’s since had two more. So three heart attacks in about six weeks.

This went down while my grandma was in and out of the hospital/nursing home with heart failure, I was house-sitting out of town, having boy drama, oh and –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I truly don’t remember what I put in the last blog about my condition lately. I was seeing doctors and getting tests when I wasn’t sitting with my mom or grandma. The mass in my lung seems to have gone away. The ones in my liver hadn’t grown since they were first found in December or January. They don’t *think* it’s cancer, but I’ll get all new tests later this year to check for progress. (The doctor currently thinks the liver masses were caused by birth control, but I haven’t been on any for over a year, so that seems odd to me.) My blood pressure is lower than it used to be, but not officially TOO low. Next up is testing my heart rate – doing one of those treadmill tests and getting another 24 hour heart monitor. I also have to get new labs for my six month surgical follow-up.

I’m really interested to see what’s wrong.  I get faint with minimal effort, get incredibly winded with the slightest incline, still can’t hydrate, get this wicked pain where I assume my left kidney lives, and one of my newer things is that I get REALLY sleepy when I eat.  It’s usually more with sweets or if I eat more than a few bites of something.

I did find a meal that seems to not anger my body in one way or another yet also tastes good.  It’s one slice of toasted Thin Sliced Good Seed bread by Dave’s Killer Bread, half a small avocado, half a roma tomato, and some egg whites (I started using whole eggs, but am liking the whites better – somehow same amount of protein!).  So tasty.  Sometimes I can put away the whole thing, but lately I can only do a few bites.  I just cook it all up, eat what I can, and then later reheat it in the microwave with a little cup of water on the side to keep the eggs from getting rubbery.

I am most definitely still not getting enough protein.  At all.  Ever.  I have not once reached my protein intake daily goal since having my surgery six months ago.  My hair comes out in clumps.  I powered through HARD getting it to grow almost to my ass, but now I look like I have some sort of tropical disease from all the loss.

Are you following me on Instagram?  That’s where I’m doing the bulk of my posting now.  I post the occasional before/during picture or what I’m eating (since there aren’t a heck of a lot of plant-based post-ops out there) or sometimes something from a workout.  I’m slightly obsessed with looking at #putaneggonit.  I follow a lot of cool people on there that have either had weight loss surgery or are on a plant-based diet, I’ve gotten a lot of good meal ideas and info from people on there!  And a lot of unnecessary pictures…

Also, I finally forced myself to go shopping.  My “tight” jeans were having to be kept on with a belt and then folded over.  I was pretty okay with just walking around in sweats all the time, but the male in my life was coming home for a few days from school so I tried to be a girl and go shopping.  I hit a Lane Bryant Outlet, told them I had no idea what size I am or what looks good, and they set me up.  They got me into jeans that were ten sizes smaller than the workout pants I walked in with.  I felt like a damn sausage in them, but have only gotten compliments.  (I’ve since tried to get over myself in shopped at a Goodwill and bought a pair of jeans two sizes bigger for comfort)  I find myself looking in the mirror way more often in my new clothes and giggling, because suddenly I can see a loss.  It’s kinda cool.

I promise I really am going to try to update more, but for sure go follow me on Instagram, as that’s where I am most active.  Thanks for reading!

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Food is a dirty, dirty tramp.

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So I stole had a grand idea. If I use GIFs, I can write less and still make a point.

This is brilliant, and perhaps I’ll write posting more.

Anyway, today I would like to talk about food and how it’s been a part of my life lately.  After my surgery, I was on a liquid diet for 26 days. It really wasn’t that bad, some of the time.

Depending on the day and what I could tolerate, I mostly lived on Propel, licorice tea, water, a bit of pop, and protein drinks in whatever way I could force down. (I tried mixing protein powder with water, hot chocolate, juice, broth… the thought makes me sick.)

I was so weak during this time because I was sooooo dehydrated and lacking protein. I could barely walk. I couldn’t shower unless someone else was at the house, out of fear that I would black out. I would have the most bizarre cravings, too. I recommend keeping a list of the things you come up with, it’s pretty funny later on. (I don’t have mine in front of me, but I remember craving reheated food (it HAD to be reheated… I don’t even…), the smell of Jack in the Box tacos, certain meats (keeping in mind that I don’t EAT meat and haven’t since I was a child), and like, the taste of burps after eating broccoli or something.

It was pretty entertaining. I would crave those things, but really had no desire to eat. It wasn’t anything I had any intention of acting on. I would allow myself to feel the craving and generally once I acknowledged it, it would pass. I didn’t feel hunger until my period. That was probably the first time I was like “Screw this, I need food now.”. But I kept on my path.

As mentioned, I had my post-op appointment and after that I was cleared to eat soft foods. You’d think I would be all:

Right? Yeahhhh, no. I ended up in the ER for pretty severe dehydration. I still felt like shit after being released, but hit up my local health food store to pick up some food/drink to test out.

I had my first real food in the evening on 12/20. I had these:

I had been dreaming of these beans for ages. I used to eat a whole container of them mixed with a whole bag of salad, a roma tomato, a small can of sliced black beans, ranch dressing, green onion, and crushed tortilla chips as a taco salad. It probably weighed like two pounds. Yikes. Anyway, I didn’t really want to eat at the time, but knew I needed the protein so I tested it out.

I may *look* okay here, but felt like ASS.

I basically dipped a fork in the container a few times. It was tasty. But a few hours later, OMG. I was in the bathroom for like two hours.

I was in unbelievable pain. Like awful period cramps. I used to get like this at times, with whatever digestive issue I have. (Colitis, IBS, IBD, Crohn’s… depends on who you ask) My body was doing all it could to get the food OUT of me. I was in pain, wanted to puke, wanted to die – it was just awful. I was minutes from calling an ambulance.  This pain went on most every time I ingested anything food-like for about two weeks.

Things have since improved, to an extent. I saw my regular doctor, that took my issues seriously. I took Lomotil for the cramps (same thing I had to take before surgery) and eventually didn’t need to take it. I’ve been going in weekly for checkups with the doctor. The pain and cramping stopped, but I also didn’t have a bowel movement for ten-ish days. I’m still dehydrated, not getting enough potassium, sugar, calories, or protein, but am able to get around a bit now.

I am now free to eat most anything, I guess. Honestly, with all the issues I’ve been having (I know, I’m not properly explaining all those things, I’m an awful writer), I’ve had to throw the rules out the window, to an extent.

As this point, I’m just focusing on chewing properly, taking my time, learning what is/isn’t going to make me sick.

I have felt so much better. It really is the little things. NOT being doubled over in pain all the time is pretty liberating. I’ve felt almost unstoppable at times.

The bad part for me is when the damn period returns. It seems I must eat all the things.

I am on my period right now and my brain keeps telling me to snack. It blows. I am still nowhere near getting the calorie intake, but have gotten better about finding ways to incorporate potassium and protein. I really am feeling a bit better. I’ve gone to the gym twice. That’s the goal, to really get going there.

I had more to say, but this has taken me HOURS to write because I get distracted so easily. I have to go.

Post-surgery follow-up

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I went to my 3 week follow up appointment at Swedish 12/19/13.  I ended up being late, partially due to the awful new phone system they have.  I don’t want to get into that though.  I had the most difficult time finding parking than I ever had.  I was walking with a cane because I’m so incredibly weak, and had to stop and sit whenever seating was available.  So I was about 30 minutes late for the nutrition group appointment.  The other people in the group also had surgery roughly within the past month.  We learned about transitioning to soft foods and what is/isn’t allowed. Lots of questions were asked, not many were actually answered.  I feel like the people running this meeting should have more experience with this stuff.  The lady is perfectly nice, she would make a fine friend, but the not knowing the answers thing got pretty frustrating.  We were given a bunch of paperwork with food lists and other things to keep an eye on.  After the group appointment, we were sent to wait for our individual incision check.  I spoke with a woman and her husband while in the waiting room – she was much smaller than I was (like, MUCH smaller, I wonder if she has some other medical issue requiring rapid weight loss – not that she had much at all to lose) and she said she gave up and had started eating a few days ago.  Psh, can we do that?  Why wasn’t I a rebel? I got weighed and their scale said I was about 10 pounds more than my home scale says.  Say whaaaat?  Anyway, I got put in a room, and the nutritionist came in while I waited for my wound check.  She wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything since I was late for the group part.  She’s much better 1 on 1.  I told her about how I was not doing well with protein intake or shakes and how even the mention of certain foods were making me nauseous.  She advised that I take a week off from the shakes and the vitamins and just focus on starting the soft foods.  The logic there is that if something makes me sick, I would know it’s not the shake or supplement.  She gave me a direct line to reach her so I don’t have to deal with the stupid answering service, a card that says to please sell me food at a reduced price because I had surgery, and an additional food list that others don’t get until their next appointment, in hopes that I would get more food ideas since I have all these food rules.  A surgeon came in (he checked me once while I was in the hospital, but wasn’t in the operating room with me as far as I know) and said everything looked normal.  Me with my open and infected wounds, barely able to breathe, and nearly in tears because I’m so exhausted.  Whatever.  He did tell me to ignore their scale and keep going by the one that I use the most.  He kept trying to send me out and I’m like dude these incisions need covering, so he did so with dry gauze (really fun when that sticks – thanks doc), told me I was doing well, and basically sent me on my way. The drive home was pretty bad, I was really physically uncomfortable and was probably a bit too weak to drive.  Even though I was given the OK to begin eating soft foods, the thought made me sick.  I was so discouraged by the whole event, that I went home and slept.  I was in the ER about 12 hours after I got home from that appointment.  More about that later.

The longer I wait to post, the more there is to post.

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So basically, I’m a failure at blogging.  I had planned to explain all about my pre-op appointment, the pre-op diet, my concerns before going into surgery, getting a bunch of pre-op pictures, surgery day, my time in the hospital, recovery, and the post-op diet.  Yeahhh, I didn’t do any of that.

I’m a day short of three weeks since surgery.  I do have some pictures to share with you and will post videos on YouTube, but not today.  This post is mostly just to check in and prove that I am alive.

The surgery itself did go well, I have had some complications since, and right now I wouldn’t do this again.  I know I will feel better about it later and end up thankful for the whole thing, but right now I’m just totally not a fan of weight loss surgery.  I have lost weight and stuff, but can’t help but wonder why I didn’t try harder to just do this without surgery.  I don’t think I really thought this through.  I don’t think I tried hard enough before.

To those of you reading this and are in the process of getting surgery or considering it – please don’t let me discourage you.  Just PLEASE get used to drinking the goddamn protein.  My life would be tons easier if I could choke that crap down.  I mean, there have been other complications, but that part has been the worst.  I feel like I’m dying all the time because I’m so malnourished.  I mean, more so than I should be.

Anyway, yes – I am alive.  I’m at least 30 pounds down.  I weigh myself on Mondays, so I’ll know later today how much progress has been made.

Checking in, concerns, complaints

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The countdown begins.

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Well, the time has come. My surgery was approved and has been scheduled. Say whaaat?! I’m in a super-lazy panic about it. I just want to scream about how I’m not ready, but realize I will never be ready for this. I can’t think of a terribly valid reason to NOT do it, so I will be getting the Roux-en-Y laparoscopic gastric bypass November 26th, 2013. I’ll likely be released from the hospital Thanksgiving Day.

A month and a day until fear and pain and a liquid diet and my new life beginning. It’s the final countdown…

(I’ve got more to say, but I’m sleepy and can’t think and have The Final Countdown stuck in my head.)

I feel like a scuba diver.

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As I’m typing this, I’m using my new CPAP. Boo. I got it today, as a condition of getting gastric bypass surgery. As previously mentioned, I did NOT want to do this. This was the main thing I was worried about. And honestly… so far, it isn’t that bad! I did start panicking and crying when first trying it on in the office, but it’s gotten better. I’m not ready to sleep with it on, but I have been using it while watching TV for a few hours now. Quite possibly longer than I used the last one altogether. In the interest of documenting as much as possible, here is the setup I’m working with.

RESmart® Auto CPAP Machine with Humidifier

RESmart® Auto CPAP Machine with Humidifier

Swift™ FX for Her

Swift™ FX for Her

I feel like I should be snorkeling. I got the stuff though Lincare. The chick that helped me was really nice, really patient and supportive. She had me try the nasal pillows (what was prescribed) and a newer version of the full mask (updated from what I had before). I appreciated getting to try both. I can see myself ending up with the full mask if I have to keep this up after surgery, but I feel pretty positive about using this thing for now.

Now that I have the CPAP and am using it, I can call Swedish Weight Loss Services and schedule the next few steps towards the surgery.

Getting closer!

Setback.

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I haven’t been able to properly focus the past few days, so forgive me if this doesn’t make much sense.

So yesterday I got the results from my sleep study the previous week.  Even though I knew deep down I wouldn’t hear what I wanted, I really hoped they would tell me that everything went well, I’m done with everything on their end and that I continue on and get the damn RNY.

Nope.

I don’t have the paperwork with the exact numbers handy, but I believe I stopped breathing 11 times an hour during regular sleep, and like 35 times an hour during REM sleep? I believe the doctor said it was moderate sleep apnea, and it has to be treated.

I started crying immediately.

The doctor explained that I am more than welcome to look into getting a mouth guard thing instead of the CPAP, but that insurance may not cover it, it is not as effective, and the steps towards surgery would take much longer. She was supportive if that was the route I had to take, but I want to freaking surgery already, so I said I would try the CPAP again. Sigh. Luckily the doctor was really understanding of my anxiety about it all and is trying to keep things as simply as possible.

I missed the call today to get the equipment, I’ll try to get that all squared away before the weekend. I have a new sleep study (GAH!!!) in a couple weeks and the follow up from that in six-freaking-weeks.

It totally blows that things are getting pushed back even more. I’m going to call the nurse coordinator at my surgeon’s office and see if there is anything I can do to speed things along. Cant hurt to ask, right?